Dollar General reports strong same-store sales gains in fourth quarter

BY Marianne Wilson

Dollar General on Thursday reported strong same-store sales gains for its fourth quarter amid increased spending at its stores.

The discounter also gave a full-year profit forecast that topped expectations and increased its stock repurchase program by $1 billion.

Dollar General noted that it opened 1,315 new stores — a record for the chain — in 2017. It is putting a big emphasis on remodels in 2018, with plans to remodel 1,000 stores, relocate 100 stores and open approximately 900 new locations.

Net income rose to $712.2 million in the quarter ended Feb.2, from $414.2 million a year ago, benefiting from a $311 million gain due to changes in U.S. tax laws. Excluding one-time items, the discounter earned $1.48 per share, in line with analysts’ estimates.

Net sales rose to $6.13 billion from $6 billion. Same-store sales increased 3.3%, beating analysts’ estimates, due to an increase in average transaction amount. It was Dollar General’s 28 consecutive quarter of same-store sales growth.

For the full fiscal year, net sales increased 6.8% to $23.5 billion. Same-store sales increased 2.7%, due to increases in average transaction amount and customer traffic. The company reported net income of $1.54 billion, or diluted EPS of $5.63, compared to net income of $1.25 billion, or diluted EPS of $4.43, for fiscal year 2016.

The company said it expects fiscal 2018 earnings of $5.95 to $6.15 per share. Analysts were expecting $5.60 per share.

“As we move into 2018, we continue to build momentum behind initiatives that we believe will further enhance our strong value and convenience proposition with consumers and drive long-term success,” said Todd Vasos, Dollar General’s CEO.


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